Published on January 10, 2018 at 5:22 am Contact Sam: email@example.com | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Paschal Chukwu sat under the stanchion, his right leg resting on the ground while he grimaced and held his left in the air. The injury seemed to cast a large shadow on Chukwu’s career night.Seconds before, Syracuse freshman forward Oshae Brissett had received a pass in the left high post and Chukwu, on the opposite high post, ran over to set a screen on De’Andre Hunter, Brissett’s defender. Chukwu briefly set it and then, as Brissett dribbled by, he tried to slip by Hunter toward the basket, but Hunter’s left knee knocked Chukwu’s right and the big man immediately hopped away from the play on his right foot.Syracuse’s star guard Tyus Battle drove into the lane and hit a turnaround jumper, but by then Chukwu had laid down, flipped his goggles up over his headband and tried but failed to get up. The trainer helped him off the court and talked to him extensively on the bench and, suddenly, three minutes later he was back on the floor, doing what he had done all night with a putback lay-in after a Battle missed 3.“After the last game, Coach (Jim Boeheim) really got on us about (rebounding), trying to go harder after every rebound,” Chukwu said, referencing Syracuse’s 42-to-27 rebounding disadvantage in its Jan. 6 loss to Notre Dame. “I was fortunate enough to grab them today.”Syracuse’s redshirt junior center nabbed a career-high 16 boards and scored nine points in Syracuse’s (12-5, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) 68-61 loss to No. 3 Virginia (15-1, 4-0) on Tuesday night at John Paul Jones Arena. All four of Chukwu’s baskets came off one of his 10 offensive rebounds. He hit one of his two free throws while adding two blocks and an assist. Syracuse’s inability to close the gap enough to press and Frank Howard’s streaky shooting ultimately doomed the Orange, but Chukwu’s presence on the boards allowed SU to hang around for as long as it did.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textVirginia head coach Tony Bennett said he prepared differently for Chukwu because at 7-foot-2 he’s so much larger than most centers in the ACC. The Cavaliers attempted 27 triples on Tuesday, which is more than its season average of 20 per game. But Bennett said he didn’t mind because it opened up the high post and they were well-rotated possessions and “good looks.”When asked if Chukwu’s presence influenced that increase, Bennett listed Chukwu’s stats and said, “You know you’re going to have to get quality shots from elsewhere (than inside). … You can’t muscle through that guy. There’s not a lot of good stuff happening when you challenge him at the rim.”Bennett also attacked the Orange’s 2-3 zone by trying to stretch Chukwu thin. With shooters on the perimeter forcing Syracuse to play up on the wings, UVA ran redshirt freshman forward De’Andre Hunter to the high post and passed to him. Twice, he turned and lofted a jumper over a late-to-rotate Chukwu, who had been busy accounting for both Hunter and the ball in the corner. Hunter hit a few jump shots en route to 13 first-half points, which would be tied for his third-highest output in a game this season.Chukwu soon learned, though, that Bennett wouldn’t fall into a pattern in the second half. The Cavaliers sent guard Ty Jerome and forward Isaiah Wilkins to the high post to switch up looks.“Sometimes they had a passer or a shooter (at the high post) to make the defense think about the decision,” Chukwu said. “That’s what they did today. Coach (Boeheim) got on me because whenever (Hunter) comes up, he’s just trying to shoot it. And Coach really told me about it and be really aware of that and see who can really make that shot or if he’s there just to pass.”Chukwu’s effectiveness shone after a player shot from the high post, though, because then the center went to the defensive glass and did what he does best for Syracuse.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom | AFP | Arsenal head to Stoke City this weekend aiming to register a second victory of the season and divert attention away from continuing questions about the future of Alexis Sanchez.Arsene Wenger’s side kicked off the Premier League campaign in exciting, if not entirely convincing, fashion against Leicester City, coming from behind to register a 4-3 victory thanks to a late Olivier Giroud winner.Sanchez, currently sidelined by an abdominal injury, is out of contract at the end of the season, but despite interest in him from a number of clubs, Wenger would rather lose him for nothing next year than sell him now.“We have to make a choice between efficiency on the field and financial interest and most of the time if you can find a good compromise, it’s better,” said the Arsenal manager.“But in this case, I think I prioritise the fact that he will be useful on the sporting side.”The win over Leicester was the kind of performance that suggested the inconsistencies that dogged Arsenal last term have not gone away.Wenger will hope a repeat of last season’s victory at the bet365 stadium will make a more compelling case for his side to be considered strong title contenders.But their status among the leading clubs will not be confirmed until the transfer window has passed, with Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among the players who are also out of contract at the end of the season.And as far as Wenger is concerned, Sanchez, Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain will stay, even if that means they will be allowed to leave for free at the end of the campaign.For now, Wenger’s focus remains on the trip to Stoke, where Arsenal won for the first time in seven attempts last May. Alexis Sanchez– Jese debut –“We had a convincing win there and that should inspire us,” said the Frenchman.“I don’t believe in bogey teams too much. We had a good performance last season and we have to focus on that, just to deal with the same performance.“Stoke have a good record at home against many teams and I’m convinced that if we play our game, we have a good chance of winning.”Stoke began their testing early-season schedule with a 1-0 defeat at Everton last weekend.Saturday’s meeting with Arsenal is followed by a trip to West Bromwich Albion and a home game against Manchester United.Manager Mark Hughes can at least call upon new signing Jese Rodriguez this weekend after the Spanish striker completed a season-long loan move from Paris Saint-Germain.“I have never had an opportunity like this here so I am very happy to have the chance to show what I can do,” said Jese, who failed to impose himself at PSG after signing from Real Madrid last year.“I want to work hard and help the team. I have chosen Stoke because it is a team that wants to grow and evolve in the Premier League and to reach the European spots.“I feel we have got the right players to reach those objectives and to inspire the Stoke City fans.”Share on: WhatsApp